UPDATE: Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis reports that Justin Morneau has been placed on the disabled list. Twins general manager Bill Smith classified it as “a short-term thing,” but Morneau’s left wrist will be immobilized for the next 10 days.
The Twins will not announce a corresponding roster move until tomorrow, but early speculation is that Tsuyoshi Nishioka could replace him on the active roster.
6:40 PM: Justin Morneau’s wrist hasn’t responded to a cortisone shot as hoped, and he’s likely to wind up on the disabled list, the Star Tribune’s Jim Souhan reported after talking to him in the clubhouse Tuesday.
Morneau took about 20 swings in the cage today, but obviously, he continued to battle some soreness. He also saw a hand specialist today, though the outcome of the examination isn’t yet known.
The only bit of good news for the Twins here is that Joe Mauer is due back this week to help replace Morneau in the lineup. Still, they really need both healthy and hitting if they’re going to climb back into contention in the AL Central.
With Morneau out, Michael Cuddyer figures to serve as the full-time first baseman. The Twins will remain short-handed in the outfield with both Jason Kubel (foot) and Denard Span (concussion) sidelined.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.